concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Kindergarten: public school or special ed setting? Please reply!

Hi all,

I recently posted a message titled, Diagnosis:  developmental delay.  I need help!  My 4 yr old son, now in pre-k, will be transitioning into kindergarten this September.  His next IEP meeting is scheduled for May.  The Child Study Team in our town will be testing him (IQ, acedemic testing...).  While all this is well and good, I still have concerns w/ how well my son will do in a regular classroom setting.  I am well aware that the district is concerned primarily w/ money, and not really looking out for the best interest of my son.  Presently, my son is attending 2 schools:  our town public pre-k and a private special ed pre-school.  Although he enjoys both settings, we feel he is benefitting so much more from the private school.  On the other hand, though, I feel he could benefit from being around other children who have no disabilities.  I just don't want to see him struggle, fall behind, get picked on....  It's a tough decision because he was never only in the public school.  He's always had the support of the private school where he is progressing nicely.  So do I throw him to the wolves into public kindergarten, or do I keep him in the private school?  My biggest fear is if my son gives up the private school, he may never get it back.  But if he doesn't try the public school solely, I'll never know if it's the best thing for him.  Our town school has an okay reputation, but I don't get the feedback that I get from the private school.  Therefore, I don't know how well my son is really doing there.  Does anyone have a similar conflict?  If so, which setting do you feel best benefits your child, and what do you base your decision on?  I just want to do what's best for my son, as he suffers from a processing disorder, speech and language problems, short-term memory and problems w/ comprehension.  Please read my original message, "Diagnosis, developmental delay", for more info about my son.  Thank you to all who reply.  I truly appreciate your advice and thoughtfulness.

Sincerely, concerned mom

  

 

 



gail's picture
gail

I don't have special ed experience.  I did put two of my children in a laboratory school associated with the university's teacher Education program.  Although the atmosphere was more nurturing than regular public school, my son reached 5th grade with minimal reading and reasoning skills.  The school would not do an evaluation because he was "smart."  I ended up taking him to a private company that evaluated his learning deficiencies and worked with him for about 3 months to address his needs.  Anyway, for what it is worth, I'd keep your child in the private school.  I don't believe he will "miss" anything that is important for his academic or social development.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Dear Gail,

Thank  you so much for your kind reply.  I, too, am leaning towards the private school for my son.  Contrary to what some believe, I feel the school is helping him, not setting him back.  Also, socialization is a very important aspect of school, and I want my son to have friends.  Right now at the pre-school level, kids don't understand that my son is different, but I don't want to see him get hurt later on.  That does not make for a good learning environment, and imagine what that can do to one's self esteem.  I truly appreciate your opinion, and I wish you all the best w/ your children as well. 

Sincerely, concerned mom

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Dear special needs,

It's sad, isn't it, that we must go through all this aggravation for our children's well being. As if we don't have enough to worry about. I finally broke down one day to my son's teacher. I told her that I wasn't looking to get anyone in trouble; I just wanted what was best for my son. Since she saw my son practically every day, I wanted her opinion. Although teachers are not really allowed to give parents advice or recommendations, I was able to get this teacher to trust me enough to open up to me.
Keep pushing for your daughter's sake. I've become a real pain to our school, but I don't care. There are so many parents that get nowhere b/c they don't speak up.
I hope everything works out w/ the school and your daughter. Have you considered a private tutor? And if that's not an option, think about hiring an advocate or a lawyer to represent your daughter. Sometimes the mere threat will get the school motivated in better assisting your child. Good luck, and hang in there.

SPED101's picture
SPED101

Dear Concerned Mom,
I can't imagine how difficult your decision is, but mabye this will help. I have taught special education as well as regular education for a number of years. I have noticed that it is totally "school-dependent" as to whether a public school setting is good for a child with special needs. What I mean is, if a school has classrooms with good support in place, usually that student can be included in a regular classroom and thrive.

If you decide to place your child in the public school, go by and speak with the principal and find out how they structure their "inclusive" or co-teaching settings. Ask if the school has paraprofessionals to help out in the classrooms and stop by and talk to the teachers. Then, talk to some of the parents who have children with special needs who attend that school and ask them if they have any concerns.

Finally, in some states, like Georgia, if a child has had an IEP in a public school for one year and you are not satisfied with the instruction, the state will pay for your child to attend private school. Check with your state for the policy.

Good luck with your decision. I hope everything works out for you. If you need other special education resources for your child, I have found ConnectingHope.com to be very helpful. Take care.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Dear SPED 101,
Thank you so much for your reply. I appreciate your input especially since you're a spec ed teacher. I know a few people in town whose kids are in spec ed and also attend our public school. I'll definitely talk to them. The school does have an inclusive classrm, however, the problem is it's fairly new, and from what I hear, they haven't worked out all the quirks yet. I don't know of any aides in the class either. I was told, unless the child is severely disabled, that he/she won't qualify for an aide. This I didn't like. Academically, I believe my son is in the right place, this being the private school. It's the social environment I'm more concerned w/. My son has friends in both schools. I just worry about him fitting in once we do transition him into public school. He's not around the public school kids all the time and as they build their friendships, I worry they won't include him anymore, especially b/c of his disability. Then again, being in a mainstreamed environment is preparing my son for the real world. He can't be getting assistance for the rest of his life. He also needs to learn how to face rejection b/c that too is part of life. But then again, I don't want to see him get hurt. It's such a difficult position to be in.
I truly appreciate your input, and I will take your advice on all accounts. I also will ck out the website you suggested. Thanks again so much!

Only2boys's picture
Only2boys

I would be concerned as to why my daughter is losing ground. Are you sure there isn't anything else going on with her? I would take her to her dr. and tell him/her what you are seeing with your daughter.

There is something called P.D.D. where children lose skills. It could be more then just her lack of instruction in her classroom. I'm not trying to alarm you, just make you think. Good luck.

Only2boys's picture
Only2boys

I can't answer your question for you, but I want to just say this. Make sure you have an IEP if your son is in public school and make sure it is followed to a T.

Have you thought about asking the advice of your dr., because they know your child and his disabilities, hopefully. Get the opinions of the teachers that work with your son as well.

The one thought I have is that if your son is in with special needs children then he will not see how other children behave, learn, etc. He won't have that role model if he is in a special needs classroom without being mainstreamed out with other children. Just something to consider.

Also a private school is not mandated to follow an IEP, where a public school has to follow it.

Seek the opinions of people who know your son well.

Good luck... decisions are never easy!